10 Jun 2020 16:21 IST

IIMB creates conducive virtual environment for EPGP 2020-21

Online forums help keep discussions alive in the absence of personal interactions

In January 2020, Covid 19 was but a distant phenomenon occurring in Wuhan, China and no one could imagine how it would change the world we live in. But very soon, it was at our doorstep, disrupting lives and the economy and, in my case, posing a risk to my plan to embark on an MBA at IIM Bangalore. One hallmark of a great institution is the way it handles a crisis, and IIMB scored high here, giving us the flexibility to join the virtual EPGP, defer the admission or withdraw, in case our priorities had changed because of the pandemic.

For those of us who bravely chose to take on the difficulties and join the MBA programme, a challenging path lay ahead as classes began online. The importance of being on campus in the heart of activities, and the strong peer learning experience in the classrooms cannot be emphasised enough. The initial days online were, no doubt, confusing and challenging.

But now, over four weeks since the term began, we have been able to overcome some of the challenges thrown at us by the virtual mode. Our online classes are immersive, with active discussions during the lectures. This is complemented by online break-out sessions, where we are randomly grouped to discuss a topic in detail. Online discussion forums on the institute’s digital platform further help keep the discussions alive in the absence of face-to-face chats after class. Group activity, an integral part of the MBA experience, was difficult initially but we are slowly embracing digital ways of collaboration, just as the world has embraced work from home. Many issues still remain, like taking full-length exams online, or attempting to start an entrepreneurial venture along with group mates remotely.

I can only hope that the situation will change soon and this too shall pass. I look forward to being on the beautiful IIMB campus and connecting with my classmates and professors. 

(The writer is an architect with a masters in urban planning and eight years of experience in architectural design and urban development. Prior to joining the one year MBA programme at IIMB, he was an urban researcher at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements Bangalore, working on an interdisciplinary project on urban futures in collaboration with researchers from the University of Oxford.)